Chocolate Fondants (Lava Cake)

Chocolate fondants 1 12Ooooh! Gooey, warm, rich chocolate that literally melts in your mouth! Hells yes! Firm on the outside, bubbling with molten chocolate on the inside, indulge yourself and your guests with this decadent pudding that will soon become a firm favourite! You can conveniently prepare this ahead and pop the fondants in the oven just before you’re ready to serve. You can also reheat them for 15 seconds in the microwave if necessary, but don’t overheat!

Chocolate fondants captured my heart (in terms of both fondness and cholesterol) five years ago when I happened upon a Gordon Ramsay recipe, which I adjusted to create this one. I tried it and was floored at the simplicity of the idea – firm to the touch on the outside, but the moment you go in for the first mouthful, melted chocolatey heaven escapes, as if little cocoa fairies are having a party in your mouth!

 

Chocolate Fondants (Lava Cake)

  • Servings: 8-10
  • Difficulty: moderately easy
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Supplies:

Chocolate fondants 43 tablespoons melted butter, for greasing
3 tablespoons cocoa powder, for dusting
200g dark chocolate, cut into small pieces
200g salted butter
200g castor sugar
4 room temp eggs + 2 egg yolks
200g cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Making it happen:

Chocolate fondants 51. Nuke 3 tablespoons of butter and brush it inside the cups, spreading it around the sides and bottom of each individual cup. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon of cocoa powder inside each cup, tipping to spread it across all the sides and bottom. Refrigerate for 30 minutes, or overnight if you’re preparing ahead.

 

 

Chocolate fondants 62. In a small pot, melt the butter and chocolate on medium heat, stirring to dissolve, until both are melted and fully mixed.

 

 

 

Choc fondants 103. In a mixing bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs and yolks until the batter is thick and pale, about 3-4 minutes. Sift in the flour and beat well to fully incorporate.

 

 

 

 

Chocolate fondants 74. Pour the melted chocolate and butter into the batter in thirds, mixing well after each addition, until the chocolate and butter are fully mixed into the batter. Add vanilla and beat to mix.

 

 

 

Chocolate fondants 85. Pour the batter into the cupcake/muffin cups/ramekins, filling 23 full, and refrigerate for one hour or more.

 

 

 

 

Choc fondants 116. Heat your oven to 200°C (400°F) and bake for 10-12 minutes until the tops start to come away from the sides. Do not over-bake! You want the fondants to be firm around the sides but gooey in the centre. Serve with ice cream or cream, but my vote is creamy vanilla ice cream!

 

 

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

I have a very good sweet tooth. Very. It’s good at demanding cake, cupcakes, tarts – anything sugary. The problem is that it’s just The Husband and I so when I bake, we end up eating ourselves into near-diabetic comas. I will look for any excuse or reason to bake. Oh look, it’s sunny, I should bake. The Stormers won the rugby, let’s bake! (I don’t follow rugby at all and have no idea who our captain is but it’s as good an excuse as any.) Do you see where I’m going with this? So when, last week, my step-mom was planning The Father’s 60th birthday, I jumped at the opportunity to provide the cake. I have a bit of a love affair going on with red velvet – I love it and, in turn, it loves my hips. No lies. Now, at the risk of sounding rather obnoxious, these red velvet cupcakes are the superlative choice for special occasions. They have a mild chocolatey flavour and the buttermilk provides a creamy taste and keeps them perfectly moist.

If you’re wondering why vinegar is used – it’s actually quite a common practice in baking. Vinegar, when used with baking soda, acts as a raising agent. Don’t worry about the cupcakes tasting weird, there are so many other flavours so you can’t taste it at all.

This recipe makes 24 cupcakes.

Red velvet cupcakes ingredients120g/½ cup butter
1½ cups white sugar
2 eggs
½ cup cocoa powder
40ml red food colouring
2 teaspoons vanilla essence
250ml/1 cup buttermilk
2½ cups plain flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon white vinegar

Red velvet cupcakes 1 1Preheat your oven to 180°C (350°F). In a medium-sized bowl, mix the butter and sugar on medium-high for about 2 minutes until it’s well blended and light. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each addition, until fully blended.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 2 1In a large bowl, sift the cocoa and pour in the food colouring, mixing with a spoon until smooth. Add into the batter, scraping down the sides with a spatula and beat on low for 10-20 seconds. Stir in the vanilla. Stop beating and scrape the bottom of the bowl with a spatula, loosening the batter at the bottom.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 3 1In a separate bowl, sift the flour and sprinkle half of it into the mixture, beating on low. Pour in half of the buttermilk, mix, sprinkle the remaining flour, beat, and finally add the remaining buttermilk, beating until fully mixed.

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 4 1Add the salt, baking soda and vinegar and stir well with a spatula or wooden spoon until mixed. Beat on high for 30 seconds – 1 minute until fully mixed.

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 5 1Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them ⅔. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clear.

 

 

 

 

For the frosting:

Red velvet cupcakes 7200g butter, room temperature
230ml plain cream cheese, also room temperature
5 cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla essence

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 10Cut the butter into small cubes and allow to reach room temperature. In a large bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese on high until light and fluffy, 3 – 4 minutes. Sift in the icing sugar, stir with a spatula or wooden spoon until loosely combined, then beat until fully combined, about 30 seconds, scraping down the sides and bottom of the bowl. Add the vanilla essence and give the frosting one last beat. Decorate as desired. I used a large piping nozzle (thicker than my thumb) in a large plastic piping bag to make thick swirls, then sprinkled some edible glitter and hearts, but you can decorate the cupcakes however you like!

 

Red velvet cupcakes 8 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Red velvet cupcakes 9

 

Oxtail Stew

The Husband and I were cruising the butchery section at our local supermarket when his eyes lit up and he made a run for the section behind me. “Pleeeeease may we have oxtail?”. Let me be honest – I don’t cook a lot of oxtail, and The Husband recently bought a box of gazillion marshmallow and chocolate-covered Easter eggs which he hid away from me (for obvious reasons) No seriously, I jest not. A happy compromise – oxtail for Easter eggs. The thing is, I absolutely love this stew! It’s packed with flavour, fresh herbs, a delicious variety of veggies and it has wine. This is a wonderful excuse to open a bottle of red, just remember to keep some for the stew. A rich stew popular in South Africa, this is the perfect meal to serve on a chilly day. It’s packed with flavour, does not disappoint and will you leave you with a wonderfully satisfied tummy!

Oxtail used to only come from the tail of an ox, but it now comes from the tail of a cow of either gender (uh… gender equality?). It is a bony, fatty piece of meat with marrow in the centre. This makes it ideal for slow-cooked stews so here it is! Serve with rice or mashed potatoes. Let’s dig in!

Oxtail ingredients

1kg (2.2lbs) oxtail
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons oil
4 leeks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
50g tomato paste
250ml red wine
250ml beef stock
500g baby tomatoes
1 x 400g tin whole peeled tomatoes
1kg (2.2lbs) baby potatoes
5 carrots, chopped
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Fresh thyme and rosemary
2 bay leaves
Freshly cracked black pepper
Salt

Oxtail 1 2

Sprinkle flour over the oxtails and coat fully. Heat the oil in a large pan on medium and add the meat when the oil is hot. Fry for about 10 minutes until the meat is browned on all sides. Set aside.

 

 

 

 

Oxtail 5 2Pour the hot oil and pan drippings into a large pot, heat on medium and add the leeks and garlic. Fry for about 3 – 5 minutes. Return the oxtails into the pot with tomato paste and fry, turning the meat, for another 3 minutes. Pour in the wine and beef stock, add the fresh and tinned tomatoes and start bringing the stew to a slow boil.

 

 

 

Oxtail 6 2Add the carrots and potatoes. Wash your fresh thyme and rosemary and sprinkle a few sprigs into the pot. Splash in Worcestershire sauce and lemon juice and crack some black pepper. (I don’t add salt at this point – let it stew for an hour, taste it and add salt. The Worcestershire sauce is already salty so try to avoid adding too much salt.) Stir everything, cover, bring to a boil, uncover and simmer for 2 hours. Serve with rice or mashed potatoes.

 

 

Oxtail 8 2